Where the heck did January go? Time is flying by so fast already! We hope you’ve had a great month. It’s been an incredibly challenging start to the year for so many around the world. On the positive side, there have been some terrific wins for the vegan movement!
This month’s wins
Veganuary celebrates record sign-ups: What a month this has been for Veganuary. Only a few days into January and the team were already reporting over 500,000 participants for their 2021 campaign. With major supermarkets and retailers all over the world embracing the annual event and advocating the reasons to try a vegan diet, taking the pledge has never been easier. Supermarket giants such as ALDI, Asda and Tesco all launched their own Veganuary web pages and M&S went even further, releasing Veganuary TV and radio ads, as well as a 31 day plant based meal plan! Of course, you certainly don’t have to wait until next year to take part. You can jump into Veganuary at any time and their website has heaps of resources and support to get you started all year round at https://veganuary.com/
US Dietary Guidelines acknowledge risk of dairy: Yes, you read right! The US Dietary Guidelines have acknowledged lactose intolerance as a serious health issue after advocacy efforts from health campaigners. The Committee, which is composed of nationally recognized nutrition and medical researchers, academics, and practitioners, updates the dietary guidelines every five years. Campaigners including plant-based physician Dr. Milton Mills and health organisation Switch4Good, driven by executive director and Olympic medallist Dotsie Bausch, worked towards the victory. Not only did they compel the US Dietary Guidelines to acknowledge lactose intolerance as a serious issue, but also to state that soy milk is nutritionally equivalent to cow’s milk, for the first time ever! The times are indeed changing.
Know someone who wants to ditch dairy? Encourage them to take the Switch4Good 14-day Dairy Detox!
Sea Shepherd launches its own education program: A fantastic opportunity to learn from the best! The more we can learn and teach our younger generations about our oceans and those who live within it, the greater hope we have for the future. Sea Shepherd’s new LessonUp channel is designed to provide free resources for secondary and primary school teachers and students on marine conservation topics, from illegal fishing to plastic pollution. These resources include lesson plans and presentations, case studies from Sea Shepherd campaigns and lesson activity ideas to enhance learning. Teachers, and anyone interested, can access the platform for free at https://www.lessonup.com/en/channel/sea-shepherd
Factory farming documentary wins multiple awards: The documentary ‘Hogwood: A Modern Horror Story’ has been described as ‘as harrowing as it is vital’. The film was produced by animal protection charity Viva! as an attempt to educate the public about factory farming and lift the veil on the horrors occurring every day in the peaceful British countryside. Its impact around the world has been enormous and has left a lasting impression on viewers, as well as judges, scooping an impressive array of national and international film awards. Hogwood is available to stream in over 60 countries, via Amazon Prime Video, Google Play and Apple TV.
French restaurant wins first all-vegan Michelin star: In less than five years, Bordeaux restaurant ONA has gone from a crowdfunded launch to winning France’s first vegan Michelin star! ONA stands for Origine Non Animale and up until Covid restrictions, offered seven gourmet dishes on its menu, courtesy of enterprising young chef, Claire Vallée. The restaurant was also awarded a green star; a new accolade from Michelin as a reward for its ethical practices.
Earthing Ed shows why the vegan movement is unstoppable: Veganism is literally all over the media these days. Celebrities are ditching animal products left, right and centre and even restaurant chains like Wagamama are promising to be 50% plant based by the end of the year! What is it exactly that is driving this vegan revolution? Euronews Living teamed up with one of our favourite activists, Earthling Ed to produce this fantastic video which answers that very question. Check it out here.
Our new partners
The JIVINITI Coalition is a group formed by diverse women leaders from plant-based nutrition, medical science, social justice, grassroots advocacy, vegan business coaching and networking organisations in the U.S. and around the world. Recently the coalition screened a live press conference, streamed live on Jane Unchained News, urging new Vice President Kamala Harris to go vegan. Vegan FTA’s own Jackie Norman was one of the speakers at the press conference, sharing her perspective as a former dairy farm worker. You can watch a short video of the speakers here.
If you would like to add your signature to the coalition petition, and encourage Kamala Harris to try a plant based diet for 31 days and experience the benefits, you can do so here.
Beyond Animal is a digital platform whose aim is to accelerate the growth of the vegan economy, i.e. an ethical, cruelty-free and sustainable economy which is free of all animal exploitation. This encompasses a wide range of activities, tools and resources built onto the platform, by providing networking, resources, and investor matchmaking for a fast and efficient fundraising process. This unique and comprehensive platform is fantastic! Think of a cross between Facebook and LinkedIn rolled into one, with heaps more brilliant resources besides. We are delighted to be partnered with these awesome changemakers! To learn more about Beyond Animal, their work and their platform, visit the following:
Sign up for the Rancher Advocacy Summit, February 6th!
Renee King-Sonnen knows first hand the challenges of transitioning an animal farm. In 2014, she and husband Tommy converted their cattle ranch into a sanctuary for over 108 animals – the first documented beef cattle ranch vegan conversion in history. Today Renee plays a valuable role in helping and empowering other animal farmers around the world to make the transition into farming something else. Together with Jane Unchained frontwoman Jane Velez-Mitchell, the powerhouse pair are hosting the second in a quarterly series of Rancher Advocacy Program Summits, which asks the tough questions and discusses possible and viable solutions.
Speakers for the February 6th summit include Beyond Animal founder Claire Smith and Geraldine Starker, founder of Refarm’d, as well as former ranchers Jay and Katja Wilde, who successfully transformed their dairy and beef farm to growing crops, with the help of Refarm’d. The Wildes are the focus of the award-winning documentary, ’73 Cows’, which you can view here.
To learn more about the Rancher Advocacy Program and see the full line-up of speakers, as well as sign up for the summit, check out their website here.
Sanctuary of the Month: Out to Pasture
Out To Pasture Animal Sanctuary is a non-profit vegan farmed animal sanctuary and licensed animal rescue with Clackamas County, Oregon in the US. Co- founded by John and Kit Collins, they provide a loving, forever home to abused, neglected, or abandoned animals including farmed animals, rescued laboratory animals, and others. Their resident rescues include a wonderful and heartwarming mix of donkeys, llamas, goats, pigs, sheep, rabbits and feathered friends, to name a few! They each have their own stories, many of them heartbreaking. Fortunately, they are all now safe and happy for life in the care of Kit, John and their helpers.
Out to Pasture works with animal welfare groups such as the Northwest In Defense of Animals, to investigate reports of animal neglect in Clackamas County and Northwest Miniature Pig Association, to provide shelter for displaced pot-bellied pigs. Every year they hold an open house and vegan barbecue attended by hundreds of people from across the state. In 2020, the wildfires in Oregon came within 1000 feet of their sanctuary, and Out To Pasture had to work tirelessly to find safe places for all of their 150 animals until the fires passed. Some even had to be rehomed multiple times, due to the evacuation zones changing as the fires spread. Luckily none of their animals were harmed, and they all made it back safely to the sanctuary. They deserve this year to be much, much better than the last!
To learn about the different ways you can help Out To Pasture, from volunteering to sponsoring an animal, check out https://www.outtopasturesanctuary.org/donate-how-to-help
Activist of the Month: Bobby Sud
Chances are, you may well have already seen some of this amazing guy’s powerful images. Bobby Sud is an event organiser for Los Angeles Animal Save and a photographer who works tirelessly to raise awareness to the horrific plight of animals by getting up close to them in Animal Save’s weekly slaughterhouse vigils as they await their fate. The images he captures and shares leave viewers speechless at his subjects’ range of expressions and emotions. There is no getting away from the heartbreak, the fear, the distress, the desperation and utter beaten down resignation. If only every human was confronted with Bobby’s images, the world would already be vegan.
Bobby was one of the very first guests in our ‘Activist’ series and we were deeply impacted by his appearance and account of what it is to ‘bear witness’ and why. Bobby also works as a cinematographer with Shaun Monson, director of ‘Earthlings’ and ‘Unity’. This video, created by Bobby shows just why Animal Save’s work is so important, and why anyone who can bear witness, should do so, for the animals. He says, ‘This is why we hold vigils at Farmer John Slaughterhouse. We are not there to show and express our anger, it’s not about us at all. We are there for them, to give these emotional, imaginative, and complex beings the opportunity to experience love and kindness’.
‘This is a right shared equally by all life on the this planet, a right that has been stolen from them and replaced with unimaginable suffering. Los Angeles Animal Save holds vigils so these innocent animals can experience a small amount of the kindness that was taken from them. To hold space for them and their suffering and allow them to feel seen’.
Bobby, thank you for all you do for the animals. You are an outstanding advocate and human. To check out more of Bobby’s work, you can follow him on Instagram (@bobbysud) and if you haven’t already seen our ‘Activist’ interview with the man himself, be sure to watch it here!
Watch: “First Day Vegan, What to Eat?”
Do you remember your first day going vegan? What was your first meal like? This adorable and comical claymation character is just starting out his vegan journey. Watch him try to figure out what he can eat!
This stop motion series was created by the incredible Becky Lewer. Follow her on instagram for more of her inspiring work: @veganing.around and @beckylewer
Listen: ‘The Plant Paradigm’ Podcast
Vegan FTA’s Gareth and Jackie recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Tom Sinak for his podcast, ‘The Plant Paradigm’. The three of them had a really enjoyable chat and talked in-depth about many things, including:
- The history of Vegan FTA
- Getting off medications
- What it means to go to a vigil
- Showing the positives of a plant based diet
- Fear of being not good enough
- From dairy farmer to vegan
- Government subsidies
- Limiting negativity
- Zen in nature
You can listen to the podcast here, or watch the video version here.
Activist Season 2 – it’s ALMOST HERE!
Yes indeed and we couldn’t be more excited! The first episode is due to go live on February 2nd at 9am PST and as a newsletter subscriber you can be the first to get the heads up that our special guest is none other than Captain Paul Watson, founder and director of Sea Shepherd. We were absolutely blown away by what he had to say and we know our viewers will be too. Season 2 promises a stunning and varied line up. We can’t wait to share ALL our episodes with you! If you’re not already subscribed to our Vegan FTA YouTube channel, make sure you do, so as not to miss a single episode.
Have you got your Vegan FTA t-shirts yet?
We’ve teamed up with our friends at Defender of Animals Clothing to bring you an exclusive range of t-shirts designed by us, as well as an awesome tote bag so you can carry us wherever you go! They are fantastic and better yet, Defender of Animals is very kindly donating all profits from the sale of these unique products to Vegan FTA, to help us in the work we do. All products are made from organic cotton and printed in the UK in a renewable energy powered factory. Top quality apparel made by activists, for activists. Getting your hands on one (or more!) is only a click away! Check out the order page here – and while you’re at it, be sure to check out the rest of their awesome designs too!
Become a Vegan FTA supporter!
Vegan FTA is currently completely unfunded and we need all the support we can get! By becoming a Vegan FTA supporter, you can help to make our work even better and ensure its continuation. We have so many goals and dreams of bringing you the best possible and exclusive content over the coming year and beyond. Here are some super easy ways you can help us achieve that:
- Share this newsletter with your friends and encourage them to follow us
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- Subscribe to our YouTube channel
- Make a donation to our Patreon
However small your donation may be, any help you are able to offer Vegan FTA is hugely appreciated and keeps us going! Thank you!